Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Yesterday, a senior Trump administration official offered a background briefing on a "Buy American, Hire American Executive Order" to be signed later today during President Trump's visit to a Snap-On tool manufacturing plant in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It would tighten up on the H1B temporary work visa program.
At the briefing, the official stated that
"With respect specifically to the Hire American reforms, President Trump, when he campaigned, talked a lot about abuses in our guest worker programs and in particular about abuses in our H1B visa programs, and even brought on the stage at a few campaign events individuals who had been displaced by abuses in our guest worker programs.
Now, this executive order will call for the strict enforcement of all laws governing entry into the United States of labor from abroad for the stated purpose of creating higher wages and higher employment rates for workers in the United States. And the executive order will further call on the Departments of Labor, Justice, Homeland Security and State to take prompt action to crack down on fraud and abuse -- which should both be understood as separate problems -- in our immigration system in order to protect workers in the United States and their economic conditions."
As explained in USA Today, the executive order will look for administrative changes, including an overhaul of the lottery system used to determine which companies can sponsor the H1B visas. Other visa programs, like the H-2B seasonal worker visa, will be largely unaffected.
The "Buy American" portion of the order will tighten the waivers and exemptions that agencies use to get around procurement laws that favor American-made goods, and require agency heads to sign off on those waivers. It will require agencies to consider whether foreign governments are using unfair trade practices when considering the lowest responsible bidder. And it includes language requiring transportation projects to use steel "melted and poured" in the United States.